Three Topeka organizations received over $750,000 in state and federal grant money to support domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration announced Monday.


Two groups, the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence and the YWCA Center for Safety & Empowerment, both received money from the SGF Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault fund.


A third group, LifeHouse Child Advocacy Center, got state money from the Children’s Advocacy Centers grant program.


The YWCA also received federal support from the Family Violence Prevention & Services Act fund.


Statewide, the three grant programs doled out over $7.8 million in support.


The money comes at a time when concerns over domestic violence and sexual assault have risen, with more Kansans spending time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Residents also are potentially more isolated from resources that could help provide support, with police in some parts of the state reporting a drop in domestic violence reports.


"COVID-19 has kept us in our homes more than usual, and for some households, this has worsened the forces of domestic violence and sexual assault," Gov. Laura Kelly said in a press release. We have a responsibility to do all we can to protect vulnerable Kansans, and I am hopeful this grant money will provide support to those who need assistance and assurances of safety the most."


Joyce Grover, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, said that the group’s training program, which the grant is intended to support, has been moved online in light of the pandemic.


The group works statewide, often with many of the other grant recipients, which support victims in their local communities.


KCSDV’s programming targets a wide array of groups, ranging from law enforcement to teachers to sexual assault nurse examiners, who collect forensic evidence from victims at a hospital.


While the state’s response in support of victims may look different than it did pre-pandemic, it is no less important, Grover said.


"We have to figure out new ways to reach [victims] and new ways to provide the support and safety they need," she said.


KCSDV’s statewide crisis hotline can be reached at 1-888-363-2287..